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In purchasing editorial help, an author faces a wide choice of editors, each with a different slant on the process. Here are a few kinds of editors who work with a manuscript prior to submission to and/or acceptance by (or just submission to) a publisher.
Copy Editor (one that reads for wording, grammar, style)
Editor (one that goes beyond by considering structure, relevance, purpose, etc.)
Print on Demand Editor (one that fills in a lengthy form so a POD printer/publisher can justify mega-prices). When an author considers POD publisher and finds some charging very high prices, it’s almost standard for them to charge a high price to evaluate the book. Instead of providing a useful, constructive criticism, these publishers/printers simply hire someone to fill in a lengthy form. Sometimes the form applies academic standards to fiction, or uses other arcane combinations. Clearly, their purpose is to extract money from writers, taking advantage of their insecurities. (Frankly, for many manuscripts, this money would be better spent on marketing and promotion, which is the main stumbling block for print on demand books.)
Such a pantheon of editors can intimidate new writers, often exploiting a natural lack of confidence when it comes to someone’s first publication.
Then there are readers:
Readers employed by agents or commercial publishers – hired to evaluate and review submitted manuscripts
Author’s reader – someone the author asks to read a book
Author’s critical reader – someone who agrees to find problems in your manuscript
Too often a friend who reads someone’s book will “stroke” them by saying the manuscript is fine and should become a best seller overnight. At the same time, some writers wants to avoid evaluation by a critical reader.
Two qualifications to consider when giving a book to someone for a critical reading.
- The critical reader should be an active reader of books in the genre
- The critical reader should be encouraged to be critical. (For example, instructed to find a set number of main problems (not typos, etc.) in the present version of the manuscript.)
The editorial function essential when it comes to improving a manuscript. It is wrong to charge unfair prices for this when publish a print on demand book. At the same time, when hiring an editor, expect to pay more than would be appropriate for a clerk or barista in a coffee house.
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